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Book of the Month

 

Experiencing The Holy Spirit - Andrew Murray

 

 How can you fuel your Christian growth? Allow God's divine power to flow into your heart! Encouraging you to soar to new spiritual heights, in this Christian classic Murray explores biblical promises relating to the Holy Spirit to help you discover God's will, live in victory over sin, claim your inheritance in Christ, receive God's blessings, and more. 137 pages, softcover.

Experiencing The Holy Spirit

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GOD’S PERFECT JUSTICE

Manasseh and Amon, Manasseh’s son established a season of terror and sin for Judah. This stood in stark contrast to Josiah who follows his Grandfather and father and we are told there was none like Josiah in his wholehearted devotion to the LORD.

Great news, you think. Finally, after five decades of evil a righteous man takes the throne and Judah will be restored and forgiven. Ah, but alas we know that not to be true. After Josiah’s death wrath and judgment follow and the Jews are overtaken by disaster and led into exile.

Why? After finding the Book of the Law, dusting it off and reading it, Josiah repented, tore his garment in anguish over their sin. Where is the grace of God in all this? Keep in mind what he heard was the unrelenting justice of God that would not look the other way when His children lived in sin. Keep in mind, knowing that God would not relent from the punishment He promised, Josiah lived a righteous life anyway! 

To make a long story short. Josiah repented. Josiah was cut to the heart and grieved over the sin that had been committed. Josiah consecrated his life to live wholeheartedly for the LORD. The people went along with it as long as Josiah was King but never bought into it. Their hearts were divided. Their hearts were made of stone. Their hearts where determined not to surrender to God and God alone. They entered into the covenant but their hearts were never His.

Josiah made a U-turn but the people did not. As soon as his reign ended, they went right back to the trough of pagan living. God is just. He punishes sin. The people did not repent. As a result, they were punished for their sin as God’s word had promised. God does not extend grace to those who will not repent. God is just. (See 2 Kings 22:11-23:3) 


It All Comes Crashing In (Jeremiah 25)

The days in which Jeremiah prophesied were not unlike our own. Nations were rising to prominence and some prominent nations were dissolving away. Jeremiah 25:1-7 helps us understand the times Jeremiah lived in and lets us know he had been preaching to this rebellious people for twenty-three years to no effect. This clearly points to the fact that God is not concerned with results but with obedience. This is true throughout Scripture. 

The New Testament pronouncement, “The wages of sin is death.” Was on display, in real life, over 650 years before Paul pens it. Wrath has come. It begins with the people of God, moves among the nations and ends with Babylon. This same pattern can be observed in Ezekiel 9:6; 1 Peter 4:17; Revelation 18 but salvation follows the same road, “first for the Jew then for the gentile.” It is the way of God’s choosing.

Why did God’s wrath happen? Well, in general, all nations are involved in an intentional deafness, a refusal to listen to God (5:21; 6:10; 25:3,4,7,9). Then there is the idolatry (10; 25:6). Whatever captures our heart other than God is an idol and the sky is the limit. Next, and closely related to idolatry is sexual immorality (2:20,24; 3:6; 9:3; 13:27; 23:10; etc.) which was tied to their religious practices and pagan culture. Finally, it was not unusual for societies to practice child sacrifice (2 Chron 33:6; 2 Kings 24:1-4). These are mentioned as common sins among the pagan nations and even Judah.

But there are sins uniquely called out by God. Sins that His people commit and there must be an accounting! Refusal to keep the Sabbath is a specific cause for their seventy years of exile in Babylonia (2 Chron. 36:17-21).  Instead of sanctifying their time to God and honoring the covenant relationship they entered into, the people of God treated as ordinary the land God had given them and refused to set apart time for it to rest.

In conjunction with the covenant they had made, spiritual adultery is brought up time and again (2:19 but they show no fear; 2:22,23,35 and deny their guilt; and have no shame 3:3, 6:15). To practice spiritual adultery is treason, betrayal and treachery toward the bride’s husband, toward Him as King and His rule.



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PERCEPTION OF PENTECOST 

Spiritual sight and seeing things differently is one of the many facets of a Pentecost experience.  Your disciple must have the infilling of the Holy Spirit or your investment of time, money, energy and life to life sharing will be a waste.  You will simply be communicating to an unsaved person what Christianity is about but they will be unable to live it.

With Pentecost comes at least seven benefits of our eyes being opened to true reality:

  • Obviously, the first benefit is life, life eternal, life in relationship with one's Savior, Creator and Lord.  Real life, not one we manufacture day by day.  If the Holy Spirit lives in you then you have life.
  • The next benefit of Pentecost is you realize you now are part of a global endeavor.  At Pentecost global outreach became the norm.  Human vision was replaced by the vision of God for a lost world.
  • The disciples moved from one new experience to another.  The disciples went and did what no one had done before.
  • The disciple's ambitions and endeavors were sanctified.  They were not "their" goals and desires.  Everything they undertook was of the Holy Spirit and required a dying to self.
  • Their passion became God's passion which ultimately led them to death.  They gave up everything to follow and that meant following to the bitter end.
  • The disciple's Pentecost vision opened up their eyes to a lost world and motivated them to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone.
  • The Pentecostal mindset means I become part of the Body of Christ.  I am not a Lone Ranger but part of the community of life in Jesus Christ where everyone is called to follow.

Pentecost was the new future for those who loved Jesus.  Their past and present didn't define them.  A powerful, healthy, fruitful future lie ahead.  The same is true for you and your disciples.


THE CROSS, THE RESURRECTION AND DISCIPLESHIP

The four Gospels all build up to Jesus’ death on the cross. Not all climax at that point but all traverse to the suffering and crucifixion of our Savior. Rightly, so. For there hung our perfect sacrificial lamb on a tree of shame and rejection. He turned it into a catalyst for God’s power and God’s glory. Our sins can now be forgiven! I can stand justified before God. A friend of God. 

Faith in Christ alone is the starting point for discipleship provided by Jesus alone. It rocked all of human history. The call goes out to all who will respond, “Come follow Me” (Matt. 4:19). I am the Savior of the world.

Likewise, all four Gospels draw the reader to the greatest and final redemptive act in God’s plan to save the world. Jesus physically rises from death after being buried for three days in a rich man’s tomb. The point? God has conquered death. God has provided the avenue of life for all who will receive Jesus, and those who do will live forever. They also will be ambassadors of the King of Life.

Now, what more can be said? Is there anything else that would accompany such spectacular events? We’ll now that you mention it, yes! The risen Jesus gathers all (11) of His disciples and adds, “go make disciples” (Matt. 28:19). 

His disciples meet Him on a mountain, worship Him, and question all that has taken place. However, don’t lose sight of the fact that they are there because they are His. He is their Messiah. He walked, talked, taught, healed, cast out and lived out His life with them for three years. 

Now, because of Him they are inexorably bound together. Their faith is now taken to a much greater level. They serve a living, risen Lord who is alive forever more.

Holding on to this realization brings a confidence in being His disciples. He provided forgiveness from the penalty of sin, victory over the power of sin and the promise to be with us until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). The work done on the cross, the victory of the empty tomb and the Commission to make disciples provides everything necessary to redeem a lost and dying world.

  


Christian Advance Prayer

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Howard Thurman

Open unto me - light for my darkness.
Open unto me - courage for my fear.
Open unto me - hope for my despair.
Open unto me - peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me - joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me - strength for my weakness.
Open unto me - wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me - forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me - tenderness for my toughness.
Open unto me - love for my hates.
Open unto me - Thy Self for my self.


Lord, Lord, open unto me!
Amen.

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Samuel Logan Brengle

 Keep me, O Lord, from waxing mentally and spiritually dull and stupid. Help me to keep the physical, mental and spiritual fibre of the athlete, of the man who denies himself daily and takes up his cross and follows Thee. Give me good success in my work, but hide pride from me. Save me from the complacency that so frequently accompanies success and prosperity. Save me from the spirit of sloth, of self-indulgence, as physical infirmities and decay creep upon me. 

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Billy Graham

" Have you ever said, 'Well, all we can do now is pray?' ... When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God."


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George Muller

 "Let no one profess to trust in God, and yet lay up for future wants, otherwise the Lord will first send him to the hoard he has amassed, before He can answer the prayer for more."  

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Karl Barth

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.

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John Wesley's Prayer of Surrender

 

O merciful God,
whatever You may deny me,
do not deny me this love.

Save me from the idolatry of loving the world,
or any of the things of the world.

Let me never love any creature
but for Your sake and in subordination to Your love.

Take full possession of my heart;
raise there Your throne
and command there as You do in heaven.

Being created by You, let me live to You;
being created for You,
let me ever act for Your glory;
being redeemed by You,
let me render to You what is Yours
and let my spirit ever cleave to You alone.

Christian Advance Prayer

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Awake O Sleeper

 Awake, O sleeper, arise from death,
abandon the shadows of night;
the wind of the spirit shall be your breath,
and Christ will fill you with light.

Once you were darkness,
once you were lost in the shadows.
Once you were darkness,
now you are children of light.

Awake, O sleeper, arise from death,
abandon the shadows of night;
the wind of the spirit shall be your breath,
and Christ will fill you with light.

Live as God's people,
live as God's justice and mercy,
filled with compassion,
filled with the power of love.

Awake, O sleeper, arise from death,
abandon the shadows of night;
the wind of the spirit shall be your breath,
and Christ will fill you with light.

Shine out with the splendour of love,
shine with justice and righteousness.
Sing the music your spirit has heard,
the songs of glory and light. 

Christian Advance Prayer

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St. Augustine

 Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen. 

Christian Advance Prayer

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Thomas Merton

 My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that
I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am
actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. 

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St. Ignatius Prayer Of Surrender

Take, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will.

You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to Your Divine will.

You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to Your Divine will.

Give me only Your love and Your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.

Amen.

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Christian Advance Prayer

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A Prayer For Holiness

Articles / Prayers / Devotion
 

Dear heavenly Father, You are a holy God and I desire to be holy too.. set apart unto You, and living my life in a manner that is worthy of You and pleasing to You.

Search my heart I pray, and if there is any cherished sin lurking within, I ask that You would root it out, for I know that only the one that has clean hand and a pure heart may stand in Your presence.

Purify my heart, cleanse my inner thoughts and examine the very motives behind my acts and attitude, for I desire to live in holiness of heart - and if there is anything that is displeasing to You in my life.. I ask that in Your grace You would root it out, so that I may live in godly holiness all the days of my life, clothed in Christ’s righteousness.. separated unto You and walking in godly love – this I ask in Jesus name, Amen.

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A Prayer For Rest

"Blessed Savior, I am not good at resting in the hollow of your hand. Nothing in my experience has taught me this resting. I have been taught how to take charge. I have been taught how to be in control. But how to rest? No, I have no models, no paradigms for resting.
That is not exactly right. Jesus, when you walked among the Jerusalem crowds and in the Judean hills, you pioneered this way of living. You were always alert and alive. You lived utterly responsive to the will of the Father.  Manifold demands were placed upon you, and still you worked in unhurried peace and power.
Help me to walk in your steps. Teach me to see only what you see, to say only what you say, to do only what you do. Help me, Lord, to work resting and to pray resting.
I ask this in your good and strong name.
Amen."   Jean Vanier